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Lithium Sydney office to build 'super fans' for Australian enterprises

Lithium Sydney office to build 'super fans' for Australian enterprises

The new office is part of a global expansion for the Silicon Valley company.

Lithium Technologies opened a Sydney office dedicated to improving Australia and New Zealand enterprises’ response to customers on social media.

The new office is part of a global expansion for the Silicon Valley company. Lithium opened a regional hub in Singapore one week ago. The company already counts major telcos Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia as customers.

“Australia and New Zealand is a very strategic region for us” because it’s seen some of the highest adoption by users of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, Lithium general manager of Asia Pacific, Charles Hough, told Computerworld Australia. Facebook has about 11 million users, he said. Social media adoption by enterprises is also particularly strong in the region, he said.

A social media strategy should be about more than collecting likes, Hough said. Lithium tries to bring out “super fans” who voluntarily promote a company’s service, he said. “These are the people who are so passionate … that they effectively become an extension of your workforce.”

“These super fans will deflect phone calls, they’ll make peer-to-peer recommendations for people to purchase additional products, they’ll help retain customers” and “neutralize negativity wherever they find it,” said Lithium vice president in Australia and New Zealand, Greg Joy.

Lithium helps enterprises develop a “social hub” where it can develop the super fans, said Hough. People are more likely to trust advocacy from their peers than marketing from a corporation, he said. “The return on investment is really immense.”

Lithium diverts Facebook and Twitter feeds straight into the community, allowing the super fans to answer questions not only within a company’s forum but also from the social media outlets, Joy said. The company also creates mobile access to the communities, he said.

“If you have negativity, you want it on your site, because that’s where the super fans will interact with it,” Joy said. “The only way to neutralize negativity on the Internet is to have another user” intervene.

Lithium has been working with Telstra and Vodafone for more than a year and with Optus for about six to seven months. The company serves about 70 telcos around the world.

Joy said that 50 per cent of users who raised a problem to the Telstra community got a satisfactory answer in their first visit. That saved Telstra many calls into the telco’s support line, he said.

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